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> Cool down after running – why, how, and what exercises to do? 

Cool down after running – why, how, and what exercises to do? 

Publish date 05.04.2023

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Cool down after running – why, how, and what exercises to do? 

Everyone knows that warming up is extremely important – no matter what kind of physical activity you will be doing. You need to warm up your muscles to avoid injury, among other things. So as you warm up, you also need to cool down after training. The latter is much less talked about and remembered, and it’s worth introducing this workout element into your routine. 

Why is it a good idea to cool down after running? How to perform it, and what exercises will be ideal at the very end of your workout to calm and cool your body. Keep reading to learn more!

Cool down after running – what is it? 

The warm-up starts our training, and the cool down is the final stage of training. You perform it when you know you want to finish running. It is a slow run that lasts a few minutes, which turns into a walk after a while. Do not perform it earlier than after you have completed all stages of your planned training. 

At this stage, it is not the pace, time, or distance you cover that matters. What you perform during the cool down does not count towards the final result of the workout. However, you can’t forget about the proper running technique in this element. Here it still applies. Good foot placement – midfoot strike, hand work.

Why should you cool down after a run?

As you might guess, cooling down after a workout is designed to bring your body back to its pre-running state. The most important thing is to get your body to calm down. Many vital functions had to be sped up for you to run, so now they have to return to their original state. When you cool down after running, you will normalize your heartbeat, heart rate, and breathing, among other things.

Just as a sudden fast run for the body is a shock, so is a sudden rest. After all, your body has been working at top speed for several minutes, and now you have suddenly stopped running. 

That’s what you’re doing the cooling down for so that your body doesn’t feel the sudden change. You slowly transition from an intense workout to a trot and then even to a walk. This allows your body to slowly calm down. 

What’s more, thanks to this process, the lactic acid that accumulated in your calves during the workout can diffuse through your body. It will then be metabolized and excreted. As a result, the muscles slowly begin to relax and do not feel such a great shock. 

Does this mean no soreness the next day after training? 

It is impossible to give a specific answer. It all depends on the runner and their body. Some say that thanks to the cooling down for the next day they felt less soreness. However, some people deny this statement. Therefore, you have to see for yourself how it looks in your case.

Slow jogging after running to cool down

Is cooling down after running very important?

It is not as important as the warm-up. If you don’t do a cool down then it won’t contribute to a greater risk of injury. You can do it, but if you don’t perform it after training, you certainly won’t suffer any major consequences

However, it is crucial to remember that such a cool down after running has a beneficial effect not only physically, but also mentally. Why? You calm your head, you do not have to think about the pace or the time. This is time for you, for total relaxation. You can delight in nature and the weather.

How to cool down after running? 

There is one very important rule you should know. The more intense and longer training you have done, the longer cooling down after running you must do. However, you must remember the exact training plan you need to develop yourself. 

Start your cool down by leaning forward for about 2 minutes. Relax your torso muscles, and let your arms hang loosely. Breathe deeply during this “process.” Then start running at a trotting speed and slowly begin to slow down until you move to a slow walk.

I have to tell you that there is no such thing as too long a cool down. If you do not know exactly how many minutes to perform this stage then: 

  • you ran less than 10 km – perform the cool down for about 5-10 minutes. 
  • you ran 10-15 km – perform the cool down before about 15 minutes.
  • you ran more than 20 km – perform the cool down for about 20 minutes. 

Cool down stretches after running 

If you want to cool down you can also do the second part – which is stretching. By slowing down your running pace you will calm your heart, but by doing stretching exercises you will take better care of the muscles that require stretching.

Would you like to know a couple of them? These are really simple exercises that you need to spend a few minutes on. It Doesn’t matter for sure you can handle them without too much trouble. These are cool down stretches after running that you can easily do while still outdoors, right after you finish your cool-down jog.

1. Standing quad stretch 

Exercise after running

This is a very simple exercise that will allow you to relax tense muscles throughout your workout.

How to do it?

  • Stand straight. 
  • Then bend one leg toward your buttocks. Help yourself with your hand and hold your foot. 
  • Stay in this position for about 30 seconds. Maintain a straight position. 
  • Then return to the initial position and do this exercise for the other leg.

2. Standing calf stretch

Standing calf stretch - exercise

This exercise will be excellent to stretch the calf muscles. It will be important after running training. 

How to perform this exercise? 

  • Stand straight, and then extend one leg slightly forward. 
  • Bend the one left behind slightly, bend forward slightly, and put the exposed leg forward straight and put your hands on it. 
  • Stay in this position for about 30 seconds. 
  • Then return to the initial position and perform this exercise on the other leg.

3. Standing lunge

Another simple exercise that you’ve probably done more than once. 

How to do it? 

  • Stand straight, legs hip-width apart, hands on hips. 
  • Then step one leg forward and bend at the knee. This will allow your whole body to slowly come down. 
  • Stay in this position for a few seconds, then change your legs and perform the same movement. 
  • Do the repetitions about 10-15 times.

4. Child pose 

Stretching to cool down

This position will help you stretch and feel relief in most parts of your body – especially the upper part. You need to stretch it too. 

How to perform this exercise? 

  • Kneel and spread your knees wide apart. 
  • Then bend your torso forward so that your body is between your thighs. 
  • Touch your forehead to the ground and stretch your shoulders forward and tighten your back. This will stretch your muscles and give you relief. 
  • Stay in this position for about 30 seconds.

I have presented you with just a few interesting exercises that you can do after a general workout and a short run to cool down. If you still know more interesting and useful exercises go to Stretching after running – leg exercises for runners

Now you know what a cool down after running is and what it consists of. It is the final stage of the workout. How to cool down after running? – relax for 2 minutes (be leaning forward), then do a few minutes of trotting and slow down until walking and walking. In addition, you can do some cool down stretches for runners to loosen up your muscles after your workout.

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